Friday, May 25, 2012

Obesity II

In my previous blog “Overweight Children” I shared the case of one of my students and presented my opinion that parents ought to take action on this issue.

My blog was so timely that a few days later, the L.A. Times published the article “It's time to serve up some big incentives to curb obesity” (To read the full article go to,0,1949780.column)

Here are some quotations from the article:

“To combat the alarming obesity rate, the Institute of Medicine says the U.S. needs to overhaul everything from farm policies to zoning laws. Clearly, doing nothing isn't an option. Americans eat too damn much. And we all pay a rising cost for this gluttony in the form of higher insurance premiums and lost productivity. A study last year by the Society of Actuaries calculated the total economic cost of an overweight and obese population in the United States and Canada at about $300 billion a year (with 90% of that figure attributable to America's dietary issues).”

“We need to acknowledge that much of what we put in our mouths is very bad for us and accept new rules intended to foster healthful behavior and discourage the endless noshing that's turning us into a herd of porkers.”

David Lazarus, the author of the article, proposes some ideas. For example:

“First, we should limit the marketing of fast food and junk food to kids. Young people are just not in a position to make wise choices when it comes to sweets and treats. It's foolish to believe otherwise. Just as parents were outraged by the idea of a Joe Camel trying to make cigarettes look cool to youngsters, they should be equally upset with all manner of colorful characters hawking everything from sugary breakfast cereals to corn-syrup-sweetened sodas.”

He goes further and proposes a cigarette-style tax on such foods and beverages, with the proceeds going toward obesity research and wellness programs. And higher insurance rates for overweight people.

I think these are fantastic ideas.

Here is my crazy idea: a parenting license. After all, for almost everything else you need a license or a certification, from driving a car to being a nurse, from getting married to being a contractor. Even baristas at Starbucks and “hamburgeristas” at McDonalds need to go through a specific training.  

Why is it that the most difficult job on earth requires no training, zero, none, nada?

Part of the license process can be training on healthy nutrition. For those “non-licensed” parents, higher taxes to pay for all the mistakes they will make and all the fixing that will have to be done, with tax-payers money, of course.

So, get a license, or get a pet.

What do you think?

Daniel Adatto, Licensed Parent # 00-0000-01

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